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Attack Kills 9 in Kashmir - 2002-03-30

An attack on a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kashmir has left at least nine people dead, including four civilians and three security personnel. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in Indian Kashmir's winter capital of Jammu.

The attack took place Saturday in one of the busiest markets in Jammu soon after shops had opened.

Police say three suspected Muslim militants drove up to the Raghunath temple and lobbed several hand grenades. As devotees and shoppers fled the area, the militants opened fire, and one of them entered the shrine.

Two of the attackers were killed in a gunbattle with security forces. One of them escaped. Several people were injured.

Jammu's senior police officer, Subhash Raina says paramilitary troops are patrolling the area. "The security arrangements in Jammu city have been tightened. The situation is being watched closely, and is well under control," Mr. Raina said.

The attack comes after three months of relative calm in the troubled Muslim-majority state, where about a dozen rebel groups have been fighting India's rule since 1989.

Police say at least two more attacks have taken place in other parts of the insurgency-torn region in the last two days.

On Friday, suspected militants attacked a truck carrying paramilitary soldiers, killing five of them. And earlier on Saturday police say guerrillas ambushed and killed two soldiers in Baramullah, a town about 50 kilometers north of Srinagar.

Authorities say Muslim militants may have started to cross into Indian Kashmir as the winter snows begin melting on the high Himalayas.

India accuses Pakistan of training and sending guerrillas into Indian Kashmir to wage an armed separatist insurgency, and has posted tens of thousands of soldiers on the Kashmir border demanding an end to what it calls cross-border terrorism.

Pakistan denies charges that it has been sponsoring the Kashmir insurgency.